Youth Department

1,000 Books Before Kindergarten

Learning to read starts at birth, so it is never too early to start reading to your child!


The concept is simple; the rewards are priceless! Read a book (any book) to your young child.  The goal is to have read 1,000 books before your little one begins kindergarten. Perhaps the goal sounds daunting at first but reading just one book each day will leave you with 1,095 books after only three years. Along the way, there will be 10 milestones (increments of 100) to celebrate on your child’s way to 1,000. The program is part of a national literacy initiative to encourage parents and caregivers to read often to their children before they begin school.

Studies show that reading with your child provides great opportunities for bonding and creating life-long memories for both adult and child! They may also have success in more areas than those who have not been read to:

  • Larger Vocabulary
  • Advanced Language Skills
  • Greater Interest in Books
  • More Likely to Want to Learn to Read
  • Better Memory
  • More Creativity
  • More Logical Thinking Skills
  • Greater General Knowledge


  1. Register with the Youth Desk by visiting the Library or calling 319-859-3282.
  2. Choose how you'd like to log your books:
    • Book og
    • Coloring Sheet
    • The App
  3. Have your child pick their Tracker Bug & color it.
  4. Start reading!


There are multiple ways that families can keep track of their child’s progress in the program. We encourage families to find the method that works best for them.

Book Log

For every book your child reads/listens to, write down the title of the book. These log sheets each contain 100 numbered lines. Many families will keep these log sheets for their scrapbooks/memory boxes.

Coloring Sheet Log

For every book your child reads/listens to, have them color one icon. There are 100 icons per coloring sheet.

The App

If you prefer to track on your phone, consider using the  1,000 Books Before Kindergarten App. 


Check-in at the Youth Desk when you hit important milestones:

Every 100 Books: Receive a sticker and move their Tracker Bug up the sunflower.

Every 200 Books: Receive a free book!

1,000 Books!: Receive a certificate, graduation cap, free book, and their Tracker Bug.


  • Who can participate? Any child from birth or until they enter kindergarten can participate.
  • How long will the program take? The program will take anywhere from a few months to a few years. The program is self-paced and will depend on how often you read together.
  • How many of my children can participate? All of them (who haven’t reached kindergarten). Make it even
    more fun and read as a family!
  • Does reading the same book multiple times count? Absolutely! In fact, reading the same story
    over and over again builds confidence and familiarity with words and reinforces that stories are
  • What books count? Any book that is read out loud to the child counts! Coming to the
    library’s Storytime, family reading over the phone, any time a story is read!
  • What should we read?  Check out this booklist for ideas: Books Your Child Should Hear Before Kindergarten

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